This type of urinary leakage occurs with activities that put stress on your bladder, such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, or lifting. It’s due to weakness or dysfunction in the muscles and other pelvic floor structures that enable you to hold urine. It often becomes a more noticeable problem as women age but also affects younger women who have had babies and is sometimes worsened by obesity or other conditions that place pressure on your abdomen.
For a sling procedure, Dr. Antonini uses strips of synthetic mesh to create a sling or hammock-like support under the tube, or urethra, which carries urine from the bladder. The sling supports the urethra and helps keep it closed when you cough, sneeze, or participate in other activities that increase abdominal pressure and may cause you to leak urine. Dr. Antonini considers this the “gold standard” for treating stress urinary incontinence that has not responded to other treatment.
The graft material in the type of sling Dr. Antonini uses is most often made of polypropylene. Polypropylene is a suture material that has been used for over 50 years without risks or complications. In the case of mid-urethral slings, polypropylene is knitted together in order to provide adequate support to the urethra.
Women who are still interested in becoming pregnant typically are not good candidates for a mid-urethral sling procedure since the stress associated with pregnancy, labor, and delivery will likely undo any benefits of the sling. Also, keep in mind that while sling surgery may reduce your symptoms of stress urinary incontinence, if you have mixed incontinence with an overactive bladder it won’t stop all your urinary leakage.
It’s a minimally invasive procedure that, depending on the approach Dr. Antonini selects, requires 1-3 small incisions that may be closed with stitches or skin glue. It’s quick, usually completed in less than 30 minutes. Recovery time varies by patient, but Dr. Antonini may advise you to restrain from sexual activity for six weeks and heavy lifting or other strenuous activity for 2-4 weeks to allow for appropriate healing.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!